For more than two decades, Diana Adjei, a beautician, has quietly moved prostitutes off the streets of Takoradi and equipped them with a trade-in beauty and personal care.
Though she was never a prostitute, due to her fun-loving nature, Diana always hanged out in bars that were patronized by prostitutes and because she didn’t like the profession, she made it a task to help the ladies live a better life.
About 3,500 people have received one form of training or another. Currently, she has 610 masters in 25 different vocations, who are currently training children of over 3400 from different parts of the country. Since the launch of her foundation Aseda some five years ago, Diana has provided 90percent of the children the tools they need to work with, over 400 sewing machines, hair dryers, tool boxes among others.
Some beneficiaries supported her to build and furnish her office. Aside training the children, she has been able to help some of the various masters upgrade their profession with professional courses from institutions like the Takoradi Technical University, so they can pass on the right knowledge.
“The least of them is organizing my team to visit the beaches to offer free pedicure and manicure to our fathers and mothers who fish for us for free, this is because they do not get the time to visit the saloon,” she said.
Skyy Media Group in 2018 honoured Diana the 2018 Mother of the Year during the station’s annual Mother’s Day celebration. As part of her prize, her project was packaged to be entered into the MTN Heroes of Change national competition in 2019 which she won.
How did the Aseda Foundation start?
Diana, as a young girl never liked going to school because her main passion was to learn a trade. Due to her preference for a trade instead of classroom education, she has always been at odds with her father.
Heer uncle came for her, it was on the premise that she will get an education but that also didn’t happen due to her persistence to learn a trade. On one of her birthdays, someone gave her a cash gift, and after enquiries, she used that money to learn the hairdressing trade within a year.
I wanted to build the sisterhood bond so they don’t return to the streets anymore, so I decided I was going to live with them in the kiosk saloon, they became fulfilled and secured, hardworking and dedicated. Since that time till now, 20 years and still counting Aseda Beauty Salon, which has been transformed into the Aseda Foundation, trains people for free,” she said.
At Aseda Foundation, what she does now is go around the country, mobilize people who are interested in learning trade and also people who by some reasons can’t further their education and are wasting away in some villages and towns, bring them to Takoradi and give them to some trade masters like welding masters, spraying masters, refrigeration engineering masters, tilling masters and many more to learn the job for free.
Her negotiations with the various masters for them to allow these children to learn for free, she says, “is by the grace of God.” She takes care of the trainees’ accommodation, feeding, clothing and some other basic needs, down to the tools they use to learn the trade till they graduate. Even after they graduate, she helps with their startup, some with funding, others by helping them secure jobs with other shops or institutions.
To her the challenges are uncountable but the root of them all is finances.
For instance, because of the impact, a lot of the children are showing interest and when they come, accommodation becomes a challenge, as well as feeding, clothing and provision of tools for their trade, she says.
“The children are a lot, and besides you cannot learn a trade without your basics tools and these are people who don’t even have food to eat, so getting their toolboxes is a very big challenge. The masters are always on my neck asking for the tools, and how can I bring children for apprenticeship without learning materials? So all these are coming from the lack of finances,” she explained.
In the year 2020, many thought the Covid 19 pandemic will stop her act of kindess. The pandemic rather motivated her to go further and do better than she use to. She now has mow girls under training and encouraging other young girls who prefer to learn a trde than education to join her class and guidance.
She is a Woman of Excellence 2020